A note to nightclubs

 We’re almost at our one year anniversary. 

Congratulations to us… although we’ve been apart for so long I know that the age-old adage absence makes the heart grow fonder is true… When lockdown came I knew nightclubs would be the first to go.

Let’s be honest nightclubs are a petri dish of hormones, alcohol, and sweat so with something as contagious as the coronavirus looming around what felt like every corner, I was sad but unsurprised with their closure. As I reminisce what it felt like to actually dress up (by this I mean wearing a nice top and trousers with my Air Forces), drink, and dance I reflect on my last night of clubbing freedom and what this absence has made me realise about going out-out.  

March feels like a lifetime ago and with the news of national lockdowns being imposed in neighbouring countries it was only a matter of time before the UK followed suit. I rather prophetically said “this will be the last time we ever go out” half-believing but not really wanting to accept that this was the likely truth. For anyone not from or studying in Bristol the name La Rocca will mean nothing and if I’m brutal it’s probably for the best! It’s the sort of place that held a certain mystique- was it a tapas bar or was it a club? I didn’t really know until third year and I did genuinely think it was a tapas bar before seeing it in the flesh. Sadly, La Rocca doesn’t serve tapas but it does serve vodka shots that taste like petrol and offer sticky floors that become bearable and even enjoyable when you’re screaming the words to Mr. Brightside at 3 am. It’s incredibly hit and miss but even I would be willing to put aside mild snobbery and welcome La Rocca back into my life with open arms if it meant I could feel the holy spirit through those piercing strobe lights again.

Isolation has made me utterly crave the interactions that I once had in nightclub settings. What would an evening out be without chatting shit and making best friends with some random person in the toilets? Scream-sobbing ‘I love you’ to your mates and realising it’s probably time to go home when you see it’s 2 am and you have a seminar at 8 am. There’s something so wonderfully communal about being absolutely off your face sharing relationship advice and cubicles- definitely not in line with the 2m guidance… but a fond memory. 

The biggest takeaway I’ve had from this whole surreal period of lockdown isn’t that Taka Taka (Gyro heaven) was undoubtedly the best place on earth but that I actually don’t need alcohol to have a good time. More than anything else I miss the rush, of sitting in my dressing gown as I got ready with no real sense of urgency until I would see the little car icon edging closer towards my flat on the Uber app and receive that fateful “I’m here” notification. I’m pretty punctual but fuck me did I like to push it close to the wire when I went out. Even though I only ever wore four items of makeup and used a scrappy bumbag to slosh in my ID, keys, cards and cash (always enough to cover the cloakroom and chips on the trudge back). I long for that 5-minute dash to grab whatever I needed before I’d hobble down the dark staircase careful not to fall over arse over tit. 

Lockdown has brought out the best and worst in me, like a relationship I feel I know myself more now for going through it than I would if I hadn’t. For a lot of students alcohol forms the basis of a good night and of course this differs from person to person. In no way am I saying you need alcohol to have a good time it’s just that so many of my blurry nights would be filled with jager bombs and haphazardly prepared vodka and cokes before I left to save on drinks out. I don’t really miss Sainsbury’s own vodka nor the slightly grim after taste from a tequila shot. It’s always the people that make a night memorable whether it’s the buzz around the smoking area where I would shamelessly sponge a rolled cigarette from someone or bumping into people I knew in the queue and having a sweaty embrace. 

You don’t know what you’re missing till it’s gone and truly I have never felt this more than now. Whilst I love the freedom of dancing in my pants to Lizzo at whatever hour I fancy there will always be something wonderfully surreal about letting go next to booming speakers that leave your ears ringing. There’s so much room for escapism but maybe it’s the idea of not knowing when we will next be able to queue in the cold wishing you’d brought a warmer coat that makes me want the doors of nightclubs to be open again. 

How have you itched the scratch of not being able to go out-out? Do you find yourselves preferring new habits centred around home and the indoors or like me are you anxiously awaiting the dreamlike message from the government that nightclubs will be open as we knew them to be long ago… 



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